How LEAD School Became an EdTech Unicorn: A Success Story
An Inside Look at LEAD School's Journey to Unicorn Status, and How It's Transforming the Education Sector in India
The journey of LEAD School is a testament to innovation and empathy - the two principles that form the bedrock of the organization. It commenced with a vision to make high-quality education accessible and affordable for every child, while revolutionizing the education landscape through an integrated school edtech solution.
The saga began in Mumbai, Maharashtra, with the collaborative efforts of Sumeet Mehta and Smita Deorah, who co-founded LEAD School. Their first venture, Shantiniketan English School (SNES), was established in a remote village located 35 kilometers away from Ahmedabad, marking the beginning of their transformative journey with a humble enrollment of just 14 students.
Understanding the critical role of English proficiency in education, LEAD School pioneered a groundbreaking approach. They decided to treat English as a skill rather than just a language, leading to the development of ELGA (English Language and General Awareness), a program aimed at enhancing English proficiency among students.
LEAD School's growth trajectory gained momentum with the establishment of their flagship LEAD School Mangaon, the first school owned by LEAD. Alongside this, they introduced a teacher application and transitioned their educators to tablets, spearheading a digital revolution in the field of education.
Further expanding their influence, LEAD School consolidated various public, government, and partner schools under their umbrella. By 2017, LEAD School commenced offering an integrated system for schools, enabling the digitization of the entire curriculum and providing comprehensive solutions for all stakeholders.
The remarkable accomplishments of LEAD School garnered recognition and accolades. The American Leadership Board lauded their impact on students and their innovative contributions to education. Additionally, LEAD School Kurduwadi received the esteemed "Best School Management Award" for their exemplary management practices.
Buoyed by significant investments, LEAD School secured $28 million in a Series C funding round, followed by an additional $30 million in the subsequent Series D funding round. These funds further propelled their mission to transform education.
LEAD School continued its transformative march, impacting over 1.2 million students across the nation through their Integrated System deployed in more than 3,000 schools.
The crowning achievement for LEAD School arrived in January 2022 when they entered the esteemed Unicorn Club, securing $100 million in a Series E funding round with a valuation of $1.1 billion. Their remarkable journey was also acknowledged by Fortune India and Work Universe, naming them among India's Top 24 'Employers of the Future.'
Presently, LEAD School provides edtech solutions to over 9,000 schools, 50,000 teachers, and 5 million students across 20 states in India. With a vision to expand their impact to over 25 million students, LEAD School stands as a beacon of innovation in the edtech landscape, shaping the future of education in India one school at a time.